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August Cup race at Michigan to be called Consumers Energy 400

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The Aug. 12 Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway will be sponsored by Consumers Energy as part of a multi-year deal, the track announced Thursday.

Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest energy provider, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents.

The company takes over for Pure Michigan, which sponsored the race from 2011-17.

“We are excited to expand our collaborative relationship with Consumers Energy,” said track president Rick Brenner in a press release. “We strive to work with Michigan-based companies like Consumers Energy who continue to give back to the community. We are looking forward to working together to provide our guests an awesome experience each August for many years to come.”

Consumers Energy will also sponsor the inaugural MIS Charity Dinner on June 9 and the track’s 50 Years of Racing Exhibit in the fan plaza for both of the track’s race weekends.

The MIS Charity Dinner, which benefits the Henry Ford Allegiance Health Foundation Patient Immediate Needs Fund and the MIS Cares Fund, will feature a strolling dinner, dessert and drink stations, live and silent auctions, music, a photo booth and more. The event will also feature a question and answer session with Dale Inman, Rusty Wallace and Leonard Wood.

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Goodyear tire test at Michigan rescheduled due to weather

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The postponed Food City 500 and a wet and cold forecast has forced Goodyear to reschedule this week’s tire test at Michigan International Speedway.

Originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, the test will now occur next week from April 24-25.

The move means that a scheduled tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for those days will be rescheduled to an undetermined date.

The Michigan test takes priority with the first NASCAR race weekend at the 2-mile speedway scheduled for June 8-10. NASCAR won’t visit IMS until Sept. 7-9.

“Hopefully, this will give us much more representative conditions of what to expect for race time in June,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, in a press release. “Since our Indy tire test was planned for this time, we’ll have to move that test to sometime in June or July.”

Teams and drivers scheduled to test at Michigan are Furniture Row Racing (Martin Truex Jr.), Hendrick Motorsports (Alex Bowman), Team Penske (Brad Keselowski), Richard Childress Racing (Austin Dillon) and Stewart-Haas Racing (Aric Almirola).

Indianapolis test teams include Chip Ganassi Racing (Jamie McMurray), Joe Gibbs Racing (Daniel Suarez), Roush Fenway Racing (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) and Wood Brothers Racing (Paul Menard).

August Cup race at Michigan will have new sponsor with departure of Pure Michigan

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A year after paying $725,000 for the naming rights, Pure Michigan will no longer sponsor the August Cup race at Michigan International Speedway, according to MLive.com

A Travel Michigan campaign and part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Pure Michigan began sponsoring the 400-mile race in 2011.

“We have enjoyed our partnership with the MEDC and the Pure Michigan Brand,” track president Rick Brenner said in a statement to NBC Sports. “We look forward to continuing to work together to promote NASCAR and the other events at MIS to promote tourism in the state.”

Sources close to the track anticipate an announcement about sponsorship for the August race in the next few weeks.

“We launched our sponsorship of the August race at a time when we were still primarily focused on growing awareness of the Pure Michigan brand,” Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, told MLive.com. “Today, opportunities to take a more targeted approach to marketing mean we can deliver interest-specific information to audiences that overlap with those attending the race at MIS through our digital campaign efforts.”

Lorenz said Pure Michigan will “continue to stay engaged” with MIS, including promoting racing and the Faster Horses Festival.

With the MEDC being a government body, MLive.com filed a Freedom of Information Act Request to find out how much the campaign paid in each year of its relationship.

Here are the totals:

2017: $725,000
2016: $700,000
2015: $675,000
2014: $675,000
2013: $625,000
2012: $575,000
2011: $335,000

FireKeepers Casino, the sponsor of the June race at the 2-mile track, recently extended its multiyear deal.

LTi Printing also increased its involvement with the speedway and NASCAR to become the entitlement sponsor of the Xfinity Series LTi Printing 250 after sponsoring the Camping World Truck Series race last year.

Corrigan Oil expanded its relationship with the speedway as the entitlement sponsorship of the Truck Series race in August with the Corrigan Oil 200.

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Watkins Glen, Michigan announce multi-year sponsor deals

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Watkins Glen International and Michigan International Speedway announced multi-year sponsorship deals for their Cup Series races Thursday.

WGI announced the Aug. 5 race at the road course will be sponsored by GoBowling.com. The 90-lap race will be called “Go Bowling at the Glen.”

This is not the first time the bowling brand has sponsored a Cup event. It sponsored the spring race at Kansas Speedway from 2016-17 and the August event at Pocono Raceway from 2013-14.

As part of the deal, Go Bowling will have two bowling lanes at the track for the race weekend.

Michigan has renewed its sponsorship deal with FireKeepers Casino Hotel for its June Cup race for “many years.”

The hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, began its relationship with MIS by sponsoring pole day in 2014. It began sponsoring the June race in 2016.

TheFireKeepers Casino 400 is scheduled for June 10.

ISM Raceway (Phoenix) also announced the title sponsor for its March 11 Cup race.

The event will called the TicketGuardian 500.

TicketGuardian is a mobile ticketing insurance provider. When fans purchase tickets to events at ISM Raceway, they will be given the option to add TicketGuardian’s ticket protection coverage. This allows fans to have insurance on the tickets they’ve purchased in advance.

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Xfinity Series to use Indianapolis package at Michigan, Pocono in 2018

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NASCAR Xfinity teams will use the drafting package that debuted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July also at Michigan International Speedway and Pocono Raceway next season, the sanctioning body announced Wednesday.

William Byron won at Indy in July. That race featured an event-record 16 leads changes in 100 laps. The previous record for lead changes in that race was nine.

NASCAR equipped cars with aero ducts, a different spoiler (64 3/4 inches wide and 6 inches tall) and a 7/8-inch restrictor plate for that Indianapolis race. All of those items also will be used at Michigan and Pocono next year.

Some drivers liked the package at Indianapolis, but Kyle Busch did not, expressing his dissatisfaction after his two-year winning streak in that event ended with a 12th-place finish.

“They wanted to slow down the fastest guy here so the rest of the field could keep up and they did,’’ Busch said after the July race.

Ryan Reed, who finished sixth at Indy, had a different viewpoint.

“I think anytime you make the cars … slower, they’re easier to drive,’’ he said. “When they’re easier to drive, you’re able to put them in more difficult positions and come out the other end OK and you’re going to have a little more confidence. I think you’ve got to find a balance because at this level a high-rate of speed is what help defines the sport.

“You don’t want us to go down and run 140 miles an hour and wide open every track, otherwise who wants to watch that? Just find a balance. I think that this may be a step in the right direction. It seems like the racing was better.’’

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